Sports

PAC-10 Championships swim through town

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The domination of the Stanford men’s swim team continued last weekend inside the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. The Cardinal won their 25th straight Pac-10 Championship Saturday with strong performances on Saturday evening.

Stanford’s final score of 880 points gave them a solid cushion over second-place Cal-Berkeley (796 points) in Federal Way. The Cardinal entered the four-day meet in Federal Way as the No. 1-ranked team in America and the meet featured four of the top-six teams in the nation.

No team in Division I sports history has won as many consecutive conference titles in any sport as the Stanford men’s swim team. After extending the streak, head coach Skip Kenney reflected on the program’s tradition.

“The admissions director loves swimmers because in 27 years we’ve graduated 100 percent. So they understand these guys do the job, they work hard, they study hard and they graduate. It’s just an honor to be in the Pac-10 Conference because all the good swimming schools are here.”

The consecutive Pac-10 title streak started in 1982, before any of the swimmers on the Stanford roster were even born.

“Against Cal we had 55 alums that flew in from all over the country to come back and just remind them that they’re there for them,” Kenney said. “We’re all part of a team. We’re all connected for 25 years.”

“I’m very happy for our team,” said Hongzhe Sun, a Stanford junior who won three titles over the weekend. “The whole time, all we had in our minds was don’t let our alumni down. We’ve got 25 years of Stanford history behind us and every one of us had that in mind. We swam our hearts out for the alums.”

The Pac-10 Championship meet was hosted by the University of Washington, who finished sixth in the six-team competition. Southern Cal ended up third, Arizona finished fourth and Arizona State rolled out of Federal Way in fifth place ahead of the Huskies.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said UW head coach Mickey Wender. “We performed very well and achieved most of our goals. We didn’t achieve all of them but it’s never perfect.”

Fox Sports Network covered the action for delayed broadcast beginning Friday at 1 p.m.

Decatur High School graduate Joon Youm had a solid meet at the Pac-10 Championships. The current USC junior swam in one “A” final, finishing eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke Saturday night in an NCAA consideration time of 2:00.39. Youm also finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 24th in the 200 individual medley.

Youm was a three-time All-American and the Washington state Swimmer of the Year from 2001-03 while at Decatur. Youm won a total of six Class 4A individual championships — three each in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley. Decatur also won the state team championship in 2003.

The Pac-10 Men’s Swimming Championships is the first of two elite-level meets the King County Aquatic Center will host this month.

The 2006 United States Spring Nationals will bring over 900 of the best men and women swimmers in the country to Federal Way.

The meet will run from March 28 through April 1. The Aquatic Center is also slated to host the 2008 NCAA Men’s National Championships.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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